The previous owner of my home planted additional azaleas every spring, stretching into the woods surrounding the small lake behind the house. I have continued the tradition, planting extravagantly some years, but at least a few plants every year. You may not be able to tell it from this picture, but, after more than two decades of planting, I now have acres of azaleas that are simply beautiful.
Those lovely azaleas were just beginning to bloom in late April. In fact, the weekend before the tornado, the reports of bad weather in the forcast had me concerned. My greatest fear was that wind, rain, or hail might disturb my precious blooms. Not once did I consider that the coming storms might bring death and destruction in their wake.
The morning of April 28, 2014, I stopped on my way to the car to look at the azaleas that were beginning to bloom. Heading to work, I fretted about the blooms. I wanted the full dose of extravagant color again this year. Less than twelve hours and one big tornado later, those blooms had lost their hold on my attention. In fact, if there were blooms after that morning, I never saw them.
That morning, azalea blooms were high on my list of priorities. That evening, the priority list included the safety of friends and family, recovery after the terrible destruction of homes and property in this part of our state, gratitude for my own safety. Azaleas were off the list completely.
Don't get me wrong. My priorities are usually in pretty good order, and there is nothing wrong with enjoying the azaleas or hoping the blooms will survive. Azaleas, however, need to come after concerns about safety for the people in our area, not before.
If the truth were told, most of us could use a little work on our priority lists, couldn't we? If you were to list your priorities in order of importance, what would be on the list? If you listed your priorities in order of how you spent your time and money, how would the list look?
This evening, use a few minutes to examine your life. Take a serious look at where you invest your money, your time, your energy. Are those priorities the ones you meant to have? Don't wait for another disaster to make adjustments in your priorities. Make them now. You, as well as the ones who should be at the top of your list, will be glad you did.